My Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac Review

I love mac and cheese. My whole family loves mac and cheese. But on a plant-based diet we had been missing our fix. Enter Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac

I’m not sure what we were expecting when we started with this but we were pleasantly surprised by what we had in store for us. This box of Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac is advertised as dairy, soy and gluten free. Non-GMO verified and of course plant-based.

First I should mention that we got our box from Whole Foods and during quarantine the Amazon delivery worked great. Here’s a link to Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac directly on Amazon.

Nutritional Facts

I can’t say enough about reading the nutritional facts and how important that is. Regardless of how healthy you think you are keeping your family, even if you’re eating mac and cheese :). I started to do some digging.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac nutritional facts

So what stuck out to me was the amount of sodium per serving. Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac shows 580mg per serving! This of course seems quite high but let’s compare it to other non-dairy mac and cheese.

So while Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac doesn’t compare to the Velveeta version it still is inline with the other non-dairy mac & cheeses. I should mention, if the sodium topic is of interest to you then make sure to check out this article posted from healthline about other foods high in sodium. I learned that this is inline with what a hotdog or bratwurst of sodium per serving.

Unboxing

daiya deluxe cheezy mac unboxing

No surprises here. Standard bag of macaroni and bag of the secret sauce.

Time to Cook

daiya deluxe cheezy mac cooking

Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac comes with really tasty gluten free macaroni. It uses brown rice pasta to avoid the gluten and we really loved it.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac cooking

Once we added the cheese things started really coming together. A little secret: I NEVER use the whole packet of cheese. It always seemed too much and this case was no different. I think we ended up using about a quarter of the whole bag. Now you could argue that you don’t get the full effect of the dish but on the positive side you also don’t get the full sodium effect.

Final Verdict

daiya deluxe cheezy mac

The box says that it’s good for 3 servings. Which in my house usually means good for 1.5 people. This was no different. Overall we really enjoyed Daiya’s take on mac & cheese. The mac was great the non-dairy cheese was also not too over-powering. It definitely scratched an itch that we had. So if you’re looking for a wonderful alternative to a dairy based mac & cheese make sure to check out Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac.

4 Plant-Based Family Blogs Helping Us Raise our Kids

plant-based family blogs to raise plant-based kids

I underestimated the challenges of raising plant-based kids. When you’re living on your own, switching to a plant-based diet is a breeze.  We’ve put together a short list of plant-based family blogs to help.

Think about it, you used to do all of your own shopping, plan your own meals, and choose the restaurants you’re going to. 

What happens when you add a husband and sprinkle a couple of kids on top? Raising plant-based kids is not such a breeze. It’s actually a different ballgame. 

When you’re the head of a household and you are trying to navigate around allergies and picky eaters, planning family-friendly plant-based meals can feel impossible.

We’re here to rescue you!

A few other families have made it their mission to share their experiences and what works for them so that you don’t have to go through the same mistakes. 

Read on to find the 4 best plant-based family blogs to help keep your family on track! 

1. Nora Cooks

If you haven’t discovered the site Nora Cooks just yet, you are in for a treat! 

On her site, you are going to find delicious recipes that are both kid and meat-eater approved. Nora has three kids and has shared her tried and true family-friendly plant-based meals!

This plant-based family blog also shares her tips and tricks for raising vegan kids. While there is a difference with vegan diets vs plant-based diets, I still really do like these recipes for a helping raise our kids plant-based.

She has a section dedicated to 30-minute meals which makes cooking at home a breeze! Her vegan mac and cheese is sure to win over kid’s hearts in a minute! 

2. Shane and Simple

Shane and Simple’s tag is “practical, not pretentious, plant-based meals.” 

This approach to a plant-based lifestyle is perfect for families! 

No nonsense, just delicious food. 

Shane first went plant-based for health reasons, and it was not in the original plan for the whole family to transition. However, his whole family did slowly transition to a plant-based diet. He has created a plant-based family blog to help others ease through this transition!

This blog post about becoming a plant-based family should give you some pointers! 

3. My Plant-Based Family

With a name like that, how can it not be a great resource? My Plant-Based Family is a blog created by Holly!

The plant-based family blog is comprehensive and includes posts specific to transitioning kids to a plant-based diet

Not only is this site packed with helpful blogs, it contains a plant-based e-course that will give you the confidence you need to take care of your plant-based family! 

4. Vegan Family Kitchen

The site Vegan Family Kitchen is a great resource for anyone looking to streamline the cooking process!

This mom, Brigitte, has gone through the wringer creating meal plans that will give your kids the nourishment they need. 

What’s great about meal plans is that they give you back the most important thing- time with your plant-based family! 

Plant-based Family Blogs to Help Your Family

Raising vegan kids has never been easier than with the help of plant-based family blogs!

These blogs will help you navigate allergies, picky-eaters, meal-prep, budgeting for meals, and more. 

Providing your family with healthy and delicious foods is one of the most amazing things you can do as a parent! 

Want to learn more about healthy living? Make sure to check out our other posts for more! 

Incase you are still looking for some recommendations here are a couple of additional lists:

Pre-workout Snacks That Will Fuel You For Any Workout

Do you eat pre-workout snacks? Is working out part of your normal routine? Do you make it to the gym only to feel depleted of energy after a few minutes?

I used to experience this a lot myself. I would motivate myself and drive to the gym, only to feel sluggard a few exercises in. A few years back I started reading more about nutrition and what fueled our bodies. I quickly realized that I needed to add a pre-workout snack to my diet, and much to my surprise it made a huge difference in my energy levels.

Even if you understand the importance of a pre-workout snack, it can be confusing to know what you should eat. Generally, you should want something light on the stomach, but something that will still fuel your body. Eating the right food will keep your blood sugar steady and in turn, give you the energy you need to have a good workout. It will make you perform better and recover faster, which is something I’ve seen happen in my own life.

When and How Much Should You Eat?

Depending on how much time you have before working out, the choices of pre-workout snacks range. Generally, the recommended time frame to eat before a workout is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes before. I suggest planning ahead of time when it comes to pre-workout foods, that way you can just grab it and go when you’re in a rush.

Below, I compiled a list of pre-workout snacks that will give you just the energy you need for your workout.

Banana

Bananas contain the perfect amount of calories to fill you up and enough carbs to keep you energized until the end of your workout. You can opt to eat a whole banana, which is not only energizing but also filling! If you find that a banana doesn’t do the trick, add some peanut butter to the mix.

This combination is yummy and packed with both protein and carbs to fuel you through whatever workout you are doing.

Oatmeal

spring peas

Oatmeal is a great pre-workout snack because it is rich in carbs and it fills you up quickly. Not only that, but it’s also so satisfying to eat. 

You don’t have to eat oatmeal plain either. Try adding some nut butter on top, or some fruits, to spruce up the taste. It is also great to incorporate low-fat milk into the recipe as well.

I love eating oatmeal with peanut butter, bananas, and chia seeds before my workouts. Since this is quite a heavy snack, give yourself time to digest it before your workout.

Greek Yogurt

This is the ultimate pre-workout snack! Plain Greek yogurt has twice the protein you can find from regular yogurt. They are very filling but at the same time, not too heavy to digest before a workout.

They are the perfect snack to bring with you if you are in a rush and they are easy and quick to eat too! If you have some almonds at home, feel free to mix it with your yogurt for some added fat. You can easily find a 100-calorie pack of yogurt in your local grocery store, and keep them in your fridge for when you need them.

Protein Bars

Protein bars are the perfect on the go snacks. They are packed full of protein and are very easy to eat! Find a good brand with less than 300 calories per pack and stack them up in your pantry or your gym bag.

Bagels

spring peas

If you find yourself extra hungry before a workout and want something delicious and filling, a bagel (preferably made from whole wheat flour) is a perfect choice for you. I love to add some cream cheese on top but I also know people that love adding peanut butter. Adding a topping like peanut butter adds a solid source of protein, which is always good before a workout.

Toast/Cereals

I love eating a slice of toast pre-workout because it only takes a minute or two to put together, and is easy to digest! Cereal is also another good pre-workout snack, mainly because it is easy to make as well. Add some dried fruit into your bowl for added nutrients and flavor.

Smoothies

Making your own smoothie ensures that you know what’s in it, which means no unnecessary added sugars.  Unfortunately, many smoothie shops add so much sugar to their smoothies, taking from being a healthy snack to a dessert.

It’s better to make your own with some almond milk, frozen fruit, and frozen veggies than buy it at a shop. Add some Greek yogurt and peanut butter for some protein, and you’re good to go!

Apple

spring peas

Nothing beats a slice of a nutritious apple. If you’re running late, you can eat it while walking to your gym. Apples are a good source of calories and carbs which are essential for your workout.

100% Fruit Juice

If you don’t feel like eating something, you should try to at least drink some fruit juice instead. Try to reach for an orange juice for some carbs and pre-workout natural sugar.

With all these options, I bet you’ll never work out again without filling in your stomach beforehand. I know that adding a pre-workout snack into my routine has helped me a lot with energy during my workouts, and I bet it will help you as well. Which is your favorite among these? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

While you’re here, make sure to check out another one of my blog posts, “20 Post Workout Foods That Are The Most Beneficial (And Easy!).”

Homemade Strawberry Vinegar

Homemade vinegar is full of nuances and flavors absent from most store-bought bottles. And, it’s simple to make!

While you can make vinegar from a variety of base ingredients, I’m going to cover how to make fresh homemade strawberry vinegar. The end result is a mix of sweet, tart, and fruity; a combination that works great in salad dressings and sauces.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is the product of fermentation, specifically the fermentation of alcohol. If you’ve ever experienced a sour bottle of wine, you know what I’m talking about.

While you may not be a chemistry whiz, the basic science behind production is easy to understand.

Technically, vinegar is the result of a two-part fermentation process. In the first step, yeasts convert carbohydrates, such as those in fruit or grains, into alcohol. In the second step, a specific type of bacteria calledAcetobacter ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. This acid gives vinegar its sour taste.

What do I Need to Make Vinegar at Home?

Vinegar is quite simple to make and only requires a few ingredients and tools. To get started you need the following:

  • Low-grade alcohol (wine, hard cider, champagne) OR a carbohydrate source (juice, fruit, grain, etc.)
  • Vinegar mother OR unfiltered vinegar
  • Large wide-mouth glass jar
  • Cheesecloth

How to Make Strawberry Vinegar

Although there are different ways to make strawberry vinegar, I’m going to cover a method that utilizes fresh berries. This method produces a product that captures the vibrant flavor of spring fruit.

Make the Alcohol

To begin, place 2-4 cups of strawberries in your glass jar. It’s fine to use the scraps from the tops of the strawberries, as well as any soft spots. However, avoid using any moldy spots, since they can impart an off flavor into the final product. Gently mash the berries until some juices are released.

homemade strawberry vinegar

Next, dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar in one quart of water. Pour this solution over the strawberries and stir. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and place it in a warm, dark area.

All areas have natural yeasts, so the ones present in your area will enter through the cheesecloth. Once they do so, they’ll start converting the sugars into alcohol. All you have to do is stir the jar each day and check for any surface molds. If you see any mold, remove it. After 10 days, strain out the solids.

Ferment into Vinegar

Now you have unfiltered strawberry wine. At this point, you’re ready to introduce Acetobacter.

For this step, you have two options. You can add a vinegar mother or add 1/4 cup of unfiltered vinegar, such as Bragg apple cider vinegar. At this point, recover the jar with cheesecloth and place it back in a warm, dark place.

Check the jar every day for any molds or off smells. The solution should smell fruity and boozy in the beginning, and eventually, it will smell sour. However, don’t stir the liquid, as this can disrupt the formation of the mother.

acetobacter

Speaking of the mother…don’t be alarmed when a rubbery pancake starts to appear on the surface of your liquid! This is the mother, and although it may look a little scary, it’s essential to the vinegar making process.

After two weeks, you can begin tasting your vinegar in the making. When it tastes sour like vinegar, it’s ready!

Strain out the mother and reserve it for future batches. Store the mother by covering it in a bit of vinegar or sugar water.

If you like, you can use cheesecloth to filter out any sediment from your vinegar. At this point, store your vinegar in an airtight container.

jars of vinegar

A Taste of Spring

Vinegar keeps for over a year, so you can revisit the flavors of spring all year long. Once you’ve mastered strawberry vinegar, you can try making other vinegar out of fruits like peaches and apples. With a pantry full of fruit vinegar, your salads will never be boring again!

If you liked my post on home strawberry vinegar make sure to check out my post on spring peas!

Common Misconceptions and Myths about Plant-Based Diets

Many people find a plant-based diet boring, tasteless, and hard to follow. Some even think that a plant-based diet is expensive and does not provide enough nutrients to stay fit and healthy. I’m happy to say I’ve don’t a bit of research :). I found these are just a few of the many misconceptions and myths about plant-based diets.

Common Misconceptions and Myths about Plant-Based Diets

Fallacies or myths often led people to doubt their dietary choices. Remember, you need to differentiate between myths and facts. In this post, we will bust the myths about the plant-based diet.

Myth 1: Plant-based Diet means to become a Vegetarian

Following a plant-based diet does not mean that you cannot eat animal-sourced foods at all. Many experts recommend including fish, meat, dairy, or poultry in your diet. However, the key is to have them in smaller portions and less often. You can use poultry, fish, or meat as a side dish or garnish with your plant-based main meal.

Myth 2: Plant-based Diet is a Luxury

Another common myth about plant-based diets is that it is expensive.  You will find a wide range of plants, beans, whole grains, and legumes at reasonable pricing. Not only are these packed with minerals, vitamins, and proteins, but they also cost less than meat.

plant-based diet is a luxury

Additionally, rice, wheat, corn, potatoes –all are inexpensive. Some leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, and seasonal fruits are a little pricey. However, you can purchase frozen or canned fruits and veggies; make sure to go for low-sodium options if possible.

Myth 3: Plant-based Diet is Boring

A plant-based diet offers so much variety; all you have to do is explore and experiment.  From beans, nuts, and seeds to pasta, legumes, and noodles, step into the world of amazing, healthy food.

Add in a little spice to make an otherwise boring food into a tasty meal.  You can replace meat with mushrooms or legumes, cheese with blended nuts, and sugary delights with date-sweetened desserts.

Myth 4: It means giving up your favorite Snacks

Well, munching on too many sugary snacks is not good for your oral health in the first place. Instead of eating candies or sugary snacks, you can experiment with vegetables or fruits, and come up with healthy, mouthwatering treats.

myths about plant-based diets

You can consult your dietitian for some innovative, tasty desserts while you are on a plant-based diet. Frozen grapes and berries are good alternatives to sugary popsicles. Plus, unsalted nuts, fruits, carrots and celery sticks are a few healthy snacks.

Myth 5: It does not suffice Body’s Nutrient Requirement

Needless to say, this is also a misconception.  Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans provide all the nutrients that your body needs. You only need to work on the proportion of food; there is no harm in consuming animal-based food as long as it is smaller in portion and less often.

misconceptions of plant-based diets

For most healthy people, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per Kg of body weight.  You can obtain protein from various plant foods, including whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, nuts, and tofu.

Some Final Thoughts

Many people hesitate to switch to a plant-based diet because of the misconceptions and myths about this healthy diet. Some find it boring; others call it expensive. Of course, you will need to have your own reasoning to try it out. As always make sure to see the advice of your medical professional before changing any of your diets. But when you are ready to dip your toe in the plant-based living waters make sure to head over and check out some of the delicious recipes we’ve gathered :).